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The Great Race (1965)

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In the early 20th century, two rivals, the heroic Leslie and the despicable Professor Fate, engage in an epic automobile race from New York to Paris.

Director:

Blake Edwards

Writers:

Arthur A. Ross (screenplay) (as Arthur Ross), Blake Edwards (original story) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,879 ( 2,195)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Lemmon ... Professor Fate / Crown Prince Frederick Hoepnick
Tony Curtis ... The Great Leslie
Natalie Wood ... Maggie Dubois
Peter Falk ... Maximilian Meen
Keenan Wynn ... Hezekiah Sturdy
Arthur O'Connell ... Henry Goodbody
Vivian Vance ... Hester Goodbody
Dorothy Provine ... Lily Olay
Larry Storch ... Texas Jack
Ross Martin ... Baron Rolfe Von Stuppe
George Macready ... General Kuhster
Marvin Kaplan ... Frisbee
Hal Smith ... Mayor of Borracho
Denver Pyle ... Sheriff
William Bryant ... Baron's Guard (as Bill Bryant)
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Storyline

Professional daredevil and white-suited hero, The Great Leslie, convinces turn-of-the-century auto makers that a race from New York to Paris (westward across America, the Bering Straight and Russia) will help to promote automobile sales. Leslie's arch-rival, the mustached and black-attired Professor Fate vows to beat Leslie to the finish line in a car of Fate's own invention. Written by Jeanne Baker <jbaker@erim.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The movie with 20,000-mile or one-million-laughs guarantee! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 December 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blake Edwards' The Great Race See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$25,333,333
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Stereo (RCA Sound System)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's world premiere was a black-tie affair held at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles on Thursday evening, July 1, 1965. Tickets for the premiere ranged from $25. to $100. with all but $3.50 of each ticket benefiting the Crippled Children's Guild of Orthopaedic Hospital. See more »

Goofs

When Professor Fate is lifted by an airplane flown by Max, the plane resembles a Curtiss Headless Pusher. This plane was not designed and built until 1912, four years after the year in which this movie was set. In July of 1908 Glenn Curtiss flew his June Bug design, which was the first public exhibition of flight in the US (the Wright Brothers had not yet flown publicly). The 1908 June Bug and the 1912 Headless Pusher bear little resemblance to each other. In reality, the June Bug was not as nimble and stable as the Pusher, so it is understandable why the 1912 design was used in the movie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Master of Ceremonies: [addressing the crowd] Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to witness the most spectacular feat ever attempted by the greatest daredevil in the world: The Great Leslie!
[the crowd cheers]
Master of Ceremonies: He will be strapped in a straightjacket before your very eyes and lifted up into the clouds where eagles soar and no sparrow dares to venture!
[the crowd murmurs]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Warner Bros logo, opening credits, intermission and closing credits all appear in the form of a magic lantern slideshow (an early form of cinema), with each credit having a custom slide. See more »

Alternate Versions

The Great Race was licensed for showing in the Soviet Union in 1965. However, the whole episode where the race is going through Russia was cut. The Soviet authorities took it as a mockery of the 1908 Russian people. See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Big Night Tonight
(uncredited)
Sung by the girls in the saloon
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Some Like It Custard
31 October 2004 | by directoroffantasiesSee all my reviews

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, memorably paired in "Some Like It Hot", tried it again in "The Great Race". Natalie Wood was a reluctant addition, with a new biography of this actress repeating her displeasure with the film and its director. Peter Falk, not yet Columbo, rounded out a globetrotting quartet chasing first prize in the 1908 New York to Paris automobile race.

Much has been made of how the script's "Prisoner of Zenda" subplot slows the action. Yet these scenes shot in Salzburg have contributed several zingers to the stock of movie quotes floating around in general circulation. Someone must have liked the "Potzdorf" episode, as "More brandy!" and "Drat!

I never mix my pies!" remain among Jack Lemmon's most cited lines.

Surviving participants in the real-life 1908 competition did not care for this trashing of their personal history. I loved it on its first release way back when, and it remains a pleasant (if long) watch on cable TV and home video.


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